Palm Beach County Judge Laura Johnson showed very little sympathy for the first amendment right of protest yesterday, or a few of the defendants she sentenced after a misdemeanor conviction of unlawful assembly.
Peter Tsolkas, 28; Lynne Purvis, 29; Marc Silverstein, 22; Russell McSpadden, 30; Richard Halsted, 24; Brandon Block, 23; and Noah Wilson, 19, were each sentenced on three misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence. Johnson sentenced Tsolkas to 60 days in jail and Purvis to 30 days in jail. The five others were sentenced to one year on probation.
Sun-Sentinel reporter Brian Haas has the story in this morning's editions:
And here is the story where the jurors, in December, after a week long trial, rejected the 'necessity' defense proffered by their assistant public defenders.
But here is a more sympathetic take by the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition, accurately pointing out that these civil rights protests had the activists putting their bodies on the line:
The protesters were all from a group trying to protect and preserve the Everglades, and a spokesperson says 'they would do it all over again.' If I had to conjecture who would best preserve the 'Glades, I would entrust the passionate protesters more than the people who run the power plant. Just sayin'..
The picture on top of the blog is how they were greeted and arrested by cops that day. Sixty days for blocking a construction site for six hours? Seems like the shackles may have gone on the wrong parties. Now the county and FPL may want costs back as well.